Some of you may have seen this recent blog from James Russell of Auckland University. James is a world expert in rats and mice and in 2012 received the Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize. Earlier this year he made a trip to the Antipodes courtesy of National Geographic in order to do some testing prior to the eradication of mice from the island, which was the purpose of our Million Dollar Mouse campaign last year.
We have had a few questions from donors about whether the project is going ahead, so it seemed like a good time to give an update.
The short answer is yes! The eradication is currently timed for Winter 2015. The planning for the project has started already, in fact DOC have recently recruited a project manager Stephen Horn to start the planning process. Stephen is fresh from his experience as part of the Macquarie Island eradication which we witnessed on the Our Far South mission.
Donations are still trickling in, and we are sitting at $927,118 so we are confident of hitting that million dollar target before the money is needed in 2015! That is only $36,441 needed from donors as Gareth is matching every donation dollar for dollar. Thanks so much to all those people that gave generously as part of the Million Dollar Mouse campaign.
One of the reasons it takes so long to get the eradication going is that we want to make sure we eradicate the mice and nothing else! James blog talks more about the challenges in getting this right, particularly testing the bait and make sure that the mice pick it up, but not our precious native birds. What we do know is that once all the mice are gone, the Antipodes will be a better place for our native birds to live, so there should be more native birds there in the long run!
You can donate to the Million Dollar Mouse campaign here.